The first documented mention of Ozzano is in the acts of Saint Evasius, who, pursued by the Aryans, found refuge here. Its feudal history is linked to the bishops of Vercelli and the marquises of Monferrato. In 1521 the feud was acquired by Mercurino Arborio Gattinara, the Grand Chancellor of Emperor Charles V, who most likely commissioned some of the notable frescoes in the Gothic-Renaissance parish church. Remnants of the ancient walls, a curtain-wall tower and Casa Bonaria, a rare 15th-century home, still survive from the 15th and 16th centuries.
The current layout of S. Maria Assunta, which has some valuable altarpieces, dates from the baroque period.
The Villa Barbano gardens and those of the castle (including a centuries-old cedar of Lebanon), now owned by the Viscontis, were laid out in the 19th century.
The little church of S. Giovanni Battista, surrounded by trees, is neo-Gothic.
The village has an important mining and industrial history linked to lime and cement, with significant industrial archaeological remains.
In 2015 Ozzano was named as one of the nine municipalities within the “Monferrato of the Infernot” area, a core zone of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont”.
The tour starts from the remains of the wall of the village and covers the ancient center of Ozzano Monferrato. It includes Bonaria-Simonetti House, the churches of Saint John the Baptist, Saint Mary and the Saviour, Villa Barbano's and the Castle's Gardens. The visit ends in the "infernot" Zavattaro, a particular kind of cellar excavated in the rocks, tipical of the Monferrato area, perfect to preserve wine.
MONUMENTS IN OZZANO MONFERRATO
Parish Church of San Salvatore
The churchyard offers a splendid panorama over the hills as well as a beautiful view of the castle gardens and bell tower. The brick façade is divided by four buttresses terminating in pinnacles. The interior, with a rectangular floor plan, is subdivided into a nave and two aisles, marked by massive round pillars. The central nave is covered by a completely frescoed barrel vault. In a chapel at one end of the left aisle is an altarpiece from the Moncalvo school. The wall continues with the Lunette of the Annunciation and a triptych depicting saints Roch and Sebastian and an undecipherable figure. These frescoes can be attributed with certainty to the school of Martino Spanzotti.
In all likelihood, the castle’s origin is connected to the encastellation phase that took place across Europe at the end of the first millennium. The building we see today, the work of the Gattinara-Lignana lords, had in the 16th century lost its defensive characteristics and been turned into a noble residence. The stretch of wall terminating in three swallowtail merlons, visible close to the gate, is the oldest section and dates from the 15th century. Walking the walls leads to the yard of the parish church, which offers a view of the gardens (including a centuries-old cedar of Lebanon with a trunk 2 metres in diameter) and the 19th century extension, including the bell tower incorporated into a tufaceous wall.
The castle is currently owned by the Visconti family.
Little Church of San Giovanni Battista
Close to the castle, surrounded by trees, sits a small neo-Gothic church built in 1878 after the Viscontis made the plot of land available. It is dedicated to the patron saint, and the façade has a glazed panel depicting a blond Saint John the Baptist with the castle and the Visconti crest.
Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Built as a summer oratory for the Compagnia dei Disciplinanti, and used during various epidemics as an isolation hospital, the current structure dates to the 18th century. On the left side of the exterior wall is a medieval capital, most likely a decorative element from the previous building. The single-naved interior has a barrel vault, a semi-circular apse and a single altar. The church houses interesting altarpieces, mostly from the 17th century.
Piazzetta S. Giovanni and Casa Bonaria-Simonetti
Just inside where the medieval walls were, for over eight centuries it served as a public square. The Casa Bonaria-Simonetti faces the piazza, a rare example of secular residential architecture from the 15th century. The covered wooden roof terrace on the corner, with the roof held up by large oak beams, is particularly unusual.
Wall Section and Tower
Along the first stretch of Via Giovanni Bianco is an important brick building, characterized by a double open gallery with round arches (16th century), using as its base a stretch of the old town walls, identifiable by the stepped brick decoration. Immediately afterwards is the square curtain-wall tower.
Palazzos, Villas and Historic Centre Gardens
An unusual feature of the village is the many houses and villas with notable gardens, dating mostly to the 19th century and reflecting its noble residential function. In Via IV Novembre is the Casa Barbano with splendid gardens, and immediately afterwards is the Palazzo Squassi. Accessed from Via Battisti is the 19th-century Villa Braccio and in Via Sosso is the house formerly known as “Calleri”.
Church of San Giuseppe in Lavello Hamlet
Completed on 13 October 1912, it is in neo-medieval style and has a nave and two aisles. It houses an interesting holographic Via Crucis based on the original by Luigi Morgari.
Railway Station Square in Lavello Hamlet
In the centre is the monument dedicated to the fallen of the Great War, by sculptor Guido Capra. A stone memorializes the partisan Alfredo Piacibello, holder of the Gold Medal of Military Valour, who was shot here.
Church of SS. Cosma and Damiano in Cinaglio Hamlet
The building is dedicated to the physician-saints Cosmas and Damian, whose relics are preserved in the church. The gabled façade has a bell gable, and on the exterior are limestone decorations with Romanesque motifs.
An imposing structure of six vertical kilns from the Milanese e Azzi factory can be seen in Largo Artigianato along Via Fontanola. Further on is the entrance to the “Laurenta” tunnel, the most important mine in the Casalese area (1901), and the ruins of the Unione Cementi Marchino factory. Along the road is the Pozzone Cavallera, an attractive two-toned building. Beyond that, a building marks the entrance to the “Verro” tunnel from 1898. In the hills are cableway pylons, air intake shafts and other minor constructions.
13 May: Castelli Aperti, guided tours.
8 April: Golosaria in Monferrato, local food and wine tastings and market.
16-17 June: Rice & Roses, local products tastings and market.
18-24 June: Saint Patron John the Baptist.
5-9 September: Saint Patron's Day.
23 September: Orange Flag's Day (special event dedicated to the most beautiful villages in Italy. that receive a particular flag).
October: concert "Harmony in Valcerrina".
November: Bagna Cauda Day.
December: Christmas' market.
Guided tours: 8 April 11.00, 14.30, 16.00;
1 May 15.00, 17.00;
13 May 11.00, 15.00, 17.00;
2 June 11.00, 16.00;
17 June 11.00, 14.30, 15.30, 16.30, 17.30;
21 July 21.00;
22 July 16.00;
26 August 11.00, 16.00;
23 September 11.00, 14.30, 15.30, 16.30;
14 October 14.30.
Guided tours in italian or english by appointment for tourists and groups (min. 5 people).